During the course, you will learn to apply design thinking and lean startup methodologies to design, test, and build a venture. In teams of 2–5 people you will first get out of the classroom and interact with users to deeply understand an unmet need, and then design, prototype, and test a novel product or service, and finally develop a viable business model and company creation plan to launch your venture.
Teams will learn skills critical to developing and launching new products, building ventures, and evaluating the viability of early stage ventures. The class is well suited for teams at various stages in the venture design process, including those who are pre-idea and for teams considering for-profit, nonprofit, and social venture ideas.
You will be supported and coached by a team of world-class faculty, including founders and early executives of ZenDesk, Task Rabbit, Baby Center, Shutterfly, Shopkick, eLoan, Netscape, and MSN, as well as VC and angel investors.
By the end of the two quarters, teams will have the opportunity to:
- Get out of the building and interact with users, advisors, investors, and partners to develop a deep understanding of the challenges they face, to field-test their proposed services, products, and business models, and to gather data
- Interpret the data and make important startup decisions in the context of their own project: pivot, persevere, or perish
- Develop creative go-to-market strategies and test their effectiveness
- Develop and deliver in front of real investors an investor pitch, elevator pitch, and executive summary
- Negotiate term sheets with venture investors
- Develop a hiring plan for their first year of operation and consider equity and other compensation plans
The innovation process we teach, as well as the techniques and skills you will learn, can be applied as problem-solving skills outside of venture creation. Nonetheless, many companies have been founded out of the Startup Garage course. Recent examples include DoorDash, Bipsync, DogHero, ClearMetal, MindRight, TalkingPoints and Boom Fantasy.